For all the improvements the Minnesota Timberwolves have made this season, their biggest might be on the defensive end. The Timberwolves put that change on full display Sunday night as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 111-105.
Minnesota's defensive effort was led by Jared Vanderbilt. The forward has become one of the Timberwolves' best hustle players, pulling down 10 boards to go with six points to help build an early 10-point lead.
The Timberwolves' defense wasn't limited to the paint as they held the Mavericks to 29.3 percent from beyond the arc. Although they were helped by the absence of Luka Doncic (ankle), the defensive effort allowed their stars to take over.
D'Angelo Russell was one of the beneficiaries, putting up 22 points on the night including shooting 4-of-7 from 3-point range. With Karl-Anthony Towns also adding 24 points, the Timberwolves were able to stay on top even without Anthony Edwards for the second straight game.
A clutch 3-pointer from Towns late gave Minnesota a five-point lead and the Timberwolves never looked back as they picked up a win on the front end of a home-and-home.
The Timberwolves climbed back to .500 (15-15) with the victory and will wrap up the back-to-back with a trip to Dallas on Tuesday night.